HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT WALKER OR ROLLATOR
Becoming an expert on a subject such as walking aids is something no one gets excited to do. Gaining such expertise means succumbing to aging and a probable decline in mobility. But aging is something that happens to everyone and finding the right walking aid can be the difference between comfort and safety. Educating yourself on walking aids requires a solid understanding of what someone needs. Let’s take a look at a few of the important details that will help you select the perfect mobility device.
Walkers vs. Rollators
The first distinction that should be made is whether you need a walker or a rollator. Walkers and rollators may be terms that seem synonymous, but they each serve very different purposes and should be treated as two separate categories. The ultimate difference between the two comes down to one thing: wheels. A walker has four legs that stay in contact with the ground when you are moving. Most walkers have to be lifted in order to move forward. Some walkers are enhanced with two front wheels but maintain ski glides or tennis balls on the back.
Rollators (or rolling walkers) have four wheels and a seat. Because of the wheels, rollators are easier to maneuver than walkers, but require more balance and coordination to safely operate. Rollators are generally recommended to users who need less support and have sufficient function in theirs hands to push and brake while walking. Walkers on the other hand, are best suited for those with poor balance and limited hand dexterity.
Questions to Ask Ourselves
Because there are many different kinds of walkers and rollators, it’s important to ask yourself various questions to pinpoint what kind of walker or rollator is best suited for you. Consider the following:
1. Where will you primarily use your walker or rollator?
Why it matters: Some rollators come equipped with large wheels and big seats to be used outside and for longer periods of time. Other rollators or walkers are best suited for inside. While you can technically use an “outdoor rollator” inside your home (and vice versa), there will be setbacks, however. Issues with wheels wearing down faster or outdoor rollators being too wide to maneuver around furniture are just a couple of challenges that may be experienced.
2. How often will you travel with your rollator?
Why it matters: Rollators are generally large and bulky and can weigh anywhere between 15 and 30 pounds. Loading a heavy rollator into a car, bus, or even an airplane on a frequent basis can be annoying, let alone dangerous for someone with limited strength. Lightweight and compact folding rollators are available for the avid traveler.
The Let’s Go Indoor Rollator from Trust Care is the most unique indoor rollator in the world
3. How heavy are you?
Why it matters: Okay, okay. We know we’re not supposed to ask someone how much they weigh. But the truth is, it’s important to find a rollator with a proper weight capacity. Standard rollators often come with a capacity of 250-300 pounds, but heavy-duty rollators are available with weight capacities up to 400 or even 500 pounds.
4. What other sizing accommodations will you need?
Why it matters: Other than weight capacity, walkers and rollators also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s important to pay attention to the height adjustment on the handles, height of the seat, and the inside width of the seat. Junior, petite, tall, and extra-large rollators and walkers are available to fit all sizes.
5. How much do you value style?
Why it matters: Just as no one wants to admit they are aging, nobody wants to admit they are in need of help from mobility device. Many people have set notions of how walkers and rollators look. The truth of the matter is, rollators and walkers have come a long way. Sure, if you want that traditional gray tri-fold walker, it’s easy to find. But for those who value innovation and design, there are many models of walkers and rollators that will impress both you and your friends.
One Rollator May Not Fit All
Like so many things in life, one rollator or walker probably won’t fit the bill for all your needs, situations, or preferences. Just like someone commuting to work has a gas-efficient vehicle but also may own a Jeep for off-road adventures, so too can you have a compact indoor rollator to use at home, a comfortable outdoor rollator to enjoy on strolls through the park, and a portable rollator to keep in the car. Having specific rollators for specific situations will enhance your life and the lives of your friends and family.
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If you’re looking for the perfect walker or rollator, give our buying guide quiz a try. In just a few simple questions about your wants and needs, we will offer our recommendations for your dream walking rollator.